Fallen legal eagle Alex Murdaugh appeared in a South Carolina court on Thursday after being sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the murders of his wife and son.
Murdaugh, 65, went before Judge Clifton Newman of the Beaufort County Court to schedule the first trial related to the alleged $8.8 million fraud.
Murdaugh appeared in court in cuffs and an orange prison uniform. A livestream also showed three deputies using a leash to keep him under control. The convicted murderer seemed to have lost weight in prison. Murdaugh is appealing the murder verdict because the court clerk unduly swayed the jury.
South Carolina Democrat state senator and Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian stated that his client would not get a fair trial on 101 state counts connected to financial crimes if they were tried in South Carolina.
Harpootlian argued that the murder case was tried six months ago and was on live television. Getting an unbiased jury pool will be nearly impossible.
In response to Harpootlian, Judge Newman clarified that he did not share the latter’s assumption that a jury could not be assembled because of hearsay.
The judge set a trial date of November 27 for the case the state considered most serious, which involved the alleged theft of about $3.5 million from the estate of Gloria Satterfield, a long-time family maid who died under suspicious circumstances at the Murdaugh residence in 2018.
Murdaugh is rumored to have set up a relationship between Cory Fleming, a personal injury attorney, and her children. He told Fleming to deposit the death benefits into his account and break the news to her loved ones that a deal had not been struck.
Murdaugh has also been indicted on federal fraud allegations. It will be his first admission of guilt when he enters a Charleston courtroom next week to plead guilty to various crimes.
Murdaugh is charged with money laundering, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The opiate-addicted lawyer is also suspected of stealing $7 million from his family’s law practice and laundering $2.4 million through a narcotics network he helped to establish.
Supposedly, Murdaugh paid off his heroin dealer to kill him so that his son Buster could collect a $10 million life insurance claim. The assassin only hit him in the head, but it wasn’t enough to kill him. He is also suspected of dodging nearly $500,000 in state taxes.
On Thursday, Murdaugh met privately with his attorneys and said nothing in open court.
Co-defendants Fleming, who pleaded guilty in the Satterfield case and is awaiting state punishment, and ex-banker Russell Laffitte, who was convicted by the feds of helping him arrange his massive web of fraud and is awaiting state trial, both had hearings.